My mining job wouldn’t promote me because I’m a woman. ERA helped me fight back.

Hanna Hurst, ERA worker client

When Hanna first called ERA seeking legal help in 2013, she was one of only two women working underground at a gold mine that employed more than 300 people.

She was experiencing sexual harassment, retaliation, disparaging comments from her supervisor (that women were only capable of performing low-level tasks, for example), and years of being denied equal opportunity for advancement, which was granted to less qualified male coworkers. She also received threats after reporting this behavior to HR.

Over nearly 7 years working there as a miner, Hanna was repeatedly denied training and promotion opportunities, and faced harassment that she described as rougher than any she endured serving in the military in Iraq. — Jennifer Reisch, ERA Legal Director & primary attorney on Hanna’s case

In late 2018, ERA successfully represented Hanna’s interests by intervening in a lawsuit brought against the mine by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). We worked closely with the EEOC to not only make sure that Hanna got the compensation she deserves, but also to bring about lasting change to the mine that will expand opportunities for women and improve working conditions for everyone.

“Not only is this $690,000 settlement one of the largest in a case of this kind, it is also an affirmation of our client Hanna’s courage and a testament to the power of speaking one’s truth,” Reisch says. “ERA salutes Hanna for her bravery and persistence, and we commend the EEOC for taking decisive action in her case.”

Sex-based discrimination remains all too common in many traditionally male-dominated industries and occupations, and the risks and costs of reporting it can be severe. This is why ERA’s vigorous enforcement of workplace rights laws is imperative for industry transformation.

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